Internationally Known LSU Coastal Expert Named Boyd Professor

04/17/2013 07:57 PM

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, April 17, unanimously voted to award a Boyd Professorship to LSU School of the Coast and Environment Professor R. Eugene Turner, an internationally renowned coastal scientist and an expert on both the northern Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone as well as the ongoing impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  

A designation as Boyd Professor is the LSU System’s highest and most prestigious academic rank, and is only awarded to faculty who have achieved national and international recognition for outstanding research, teaching or other creative achievements.

In awarding the Boyd Professorship, the Board noted Turner’s global reputation in coastal sciences and wetlands conservation, restoration and management, and commended both his decades of successful research funding and his hundreds of highly-cited publications.

Turner, who holds the Shell Endowed Chair in Oceanography/Wetland Studies, has been a faculty member at LSU for nearly 40 years, and has mentored almost one hundred students towards a masters or doctoral degree.  He has been recognized as both an LSU Distinguished Research Master and an LSU Rainmaker, and in 2012 was awarded the Wetland Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Wetland Conference.

Christopher D’Elia, dean of the LSU School of the Coast and Environment, in nominating Turner, observed that “he exemplifies critical thinking and expects his students and his colleagues to demonstrate that capacity as well.”  

The dean also noted, “It is undeniable that Dr. Turner has moved forward discussions of land loss, coastal restoration and hypoxia.  His leadership on these coastal issues has reflected well on the School of the Coast and Environment and LSU.”  

Several prominent external scholars noted his “extremely prolific” career and contributions to the field.

Nominations for the Boyd Professorship from a campus are evaluated by the LSU System Boyd Professor Review Committee, which seeks confidential evaluations from distinguished scholars in the candidate’s field of expertise.  Once endorsed by the review committee, the nomination is forward to the LSU system president and Board of Supervisors for approval.  Faculty are not informed of their nomination until the Board votes to award the Boyd Professorship.

Turner received his bachelor’s degree from Monmouth College in Illinois in 1967; his master’s degree from Drake University in 1969; and his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 1974, the same year he arrived at LSU.  Since then, he has served in a variety of roles for the university, including Chairman of the Department of Marine Science (now Oceanography and Coastal Science) and director of the Coastal Ecology Institute.

Turner is the 71st Boyd Professor named in the LSU System, and the 46th from LSU A&M, to be awarded the coveted title since it was established in 1953 to honor brothers David and Thomas Boyd, early faculty members and presidents of LSU.  With his appointment, there are now 20 active Boyd Professors across multiple campuses of the LSU System.

For further information about Turner’s work, contact Ashley Berthelot at 225-578-3870 or

Ashley  Berthelot 
LSU Research Communications

Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013